Advanced Lifestyle International Retail Pty Ltd and one if its former salespeople have provided the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with court-enforceable undertakings for making false or misleading representations to consumers during in-home sales presentations.
Advanced Lifestyle also paid three Infringement Notice penalties totalling $19,800 to the ACCC.
“The ACCC took action in this case following complaints from a number of elderly consumers who felt they had been taken advantage of and misled,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“Businesses that engage in door-to-door sales must be accountable. Door-to-door sales staff must be trained properly and their activities monitored, because ultimately it will be the business that pays for any misconduct.”
Advanced Lifestyle offered free ‘massage’ or ‘therapy treatments’ to gain access to consumers’ homes in order to sell vibrating products. A former salesperson, Ms Lynn Laws represented that Advanced Lifestyle or its products had Government approval, when this is not true. Ms Laws also misled consumers about the price of Advanced Lifestyle’s products.
“Stamping out these types of misleading sales practices is a priority for the ACCC as it occurs in people’s homes and targets vulnerable or inexperienced consumers,” Mr Sims said.
Advanced Lifestyle also told consumers who purchased products that they had no right to cancel the contracts, however under the Queensland door-to-door trading legislation that applied at the time consumers were entitled to a cooling-off period.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law consumers in all States and Territories are now entitled to a 10 day cooling-off period on all door-to-door contracts. Businesses who do not comply with the law or that misinform consumers about their rights face financial penalties,” Mr Sims said.
Advanced Lifestyle’s salespeople are now required to give each consumer a notice about their rights at the beginning of every sales presentation, publish corrective notices and implement a trade practices law compliance program to ensure it is aware of its obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.
Ms Laws is also required to complete trade practices law compliance training.